Sunday, March 07, 2010

BoS Meeting Notes - 3/4/2010

Regular Meeting - Agenda

Supervisors read a proclamation in honor of the the Boy Scouts of America 100th anniversary.  Copies were presented to BSA Troop 29 and to Cub Pack 21.  Cub Pack 29 will receive their copy at the next BoS meeting. 

The Board learned:

  • How much time was contributed in 2009 by sports parents and coaches and how that translates to value to the Township. 
  • That another Forks business is seeking an inter-municipal liquor license transfer.  This one is the Auto Grill on North Delaware Dr. - it was formerly the Riverside Deli. 
  • That the Parks & Recreation Standing Committee may have gone "maverick" when it told the Recreation Board to approach Solicitor Kline directly with a soon-to-be rewritten Recreation Board Ordinance.  This is an update to the one done in 1960.

Supervisor Egolf was absent as was the recording secretary.

Minutes of the February 04, 2010 Regular Board Meeting (Tabled from last meeting) were approved with a 4:0 vote.  In discussion Howell asked to be refreshed on why the minutes were tabled.  Chuss said that it was primarily a cut and paste issue.  However, when Chuss attempted once again to insert words indicating that Ms. Hanks had said that she received all materials she requested (see BoS Meeting Notes - 02/4/2010), Ms. Hanks disagreed.  She said that she did not receive all the materials and never agreed that she had.  She added that she subsequently requested additional materials which she received in a timely manner.  Chuss then amended his statement to read that "Mr. Chuss asked Ms. Hanks if she had received all the material she requested.  And, then Mr. Chuss said if she identifies any additional information she should submit a request for it from the Township." 

Minutes of the February 18, 2010 Regular Board Meeting were approved with a 4:0 vote.

Public Comments (non-agenda)

  • Dan Martyak - President of the Forks Township Youth Sports Organization (FTYSO) presented the Board with a report of the 2009 volunteer hours contributed by sports parents, coaches and organization officers to the Township.  He translated it into monetary value by assuming that each hour of volunteer time is worth $20.  The 43,721 hours is valued per his report at $874,420.  Martyak said that the report will be on the FTYSO website shortly.

In his verbal report, Martyak said that if the kids were not involved in sports, they would be involved in crime and that it costs $100,000 per child per year in the criminal system.  Last year the kids in Forks were involved in sports for over 193,000 hours. 

Martyak said the organization is aware of a gap in funding for the current year and it is working closely with Finance Manager Farley and John O'Neil to mitigate the shortfall.  Last year FTYSO contributed $66,000 to the Township in the form of fees collected and funds raised. 

Martyak also read a letter he received from a resident who ran a city youth sports program for 10 years.  It had paid workers and was always understaffed and under budgeted.  A youth sports organization was created and used to raise money and to get volunteers.  He said that because people had no direct control over the program, they were poorly committed.  The letter concluded with accolades for the talent and commitment of the people running the Forks programs. 

 Supervisors Comments 

  • Supervisor Chuss asked Ms. Hanks if she received all the documents she requested.  He stated that she indicated she has and he advised her that if there is any additional information she needs, a written request submission should be made.

Treasurer's Report - Rogers detailed the debits (cash paid out) since the last Supervisors' meeting.  The debits and transfers were approved with a 3:1 vote.  Howell cast the nay.  When asked by Chuss the reason for his nay, Howell said that he does not approve of the Liquid Fuels transfer of $83,000 (see agenda item below for more details.)  The Township's current outstanding debt is $7,724,347.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Public Safety - Supervisor Egolf - absent - Chief Dorney said that the committee has not met since the last BoS meeting and will meet next Wednesday at 7:15 PM.
  • Public Works - Supervisor Howell - said that there have been no meetings since early in February and the next one will be Monday at 8 AM in the Municipal Building.
  • Parks & Recreation - Supervisor Rogers - said that the committee met last night at 6 PM.  She reported:
    • Dan Martyak (FTYSO) said that there is a back-up plan to reduce the budget gap and that all commissioners have been asked to cut their budgets.  Supervisor Billings has volunteered to help understand and resolve the gap.
    • Rogers repeated Martyak's report statistics (see above).
    • The 1960 Recreation Board Ordinance has been found and the Recreation Board will review it, make changes, and then send it to Solicitor Kline for review.  Rogers said that this is her recommendation to the Board and that she believes this will "put the matter to rest."
    • The newest Recreation Board member, Beverly Dalrymple was introduced.
    • The Recreation Board meeting minutes will be provided to the committee at a later date.
    • Don Miller said in a report that wrestling ended last week, basketball is winding down and spring sports are beginning.
    • The Rec Board will revisit its five year plan, prioritize it, and provide more details - including cost estimates.  They will present it to the committee next month.   
    • The next meeting is the first Wednesday of April at 6 PM in the Municipal Building. 

Howell took issue with the Recreation Board going directly to Solicitor Kline.  He said that the committee was charged to bring the ordinance to the BoS and after review, the BoS will, if necessary, send the ordinance to the Solicitor.  Howell said that he thought no committee should be able to "oblige or engage" the Township's counsel.  Chuss offered that the Planning Commission (PC) does it all the time.  Howell said that Kline is the Solicitor to the PC - he is their counsel.  He finds it "quite a usurption that an advisory committee can engage counsel and fees without the approval of the Board." 

Rogers insisted that the committee "decided" that that was how it would be.  She added that he (Howell) had "already left and wasn't there to hear it."  Howell offered that there were many times when he would have liked to do just that - consult with Kline - over committee issues, and as long the chairman and she (Rogers) feel it is appropriate to do, he will take advantage of it.  Howell added that the Township Manager and the Finance Committee had wanted to limit Solicitor (and other professionals) contact in order to save money.  This is a procedural matter because now Chuss and Rogers are saying that a committee can engage the Township's counsel. 

  • Community Relations - Supervisor Chuss - said that the committee has not met since the last BoS meeting and the next meeting is March 8th.  He reported that 17 people (including himself) have signed up for his Art Society.  He thought this a "fantastic" response.  Only three of those who signed up cannot make the first meeting on March 16th at the Community Center.  Chuss is providing the refreshments. 
  • Finance & Administration - Supervisor Billings - said that the next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 10th at 6 PM in the Municipal Building.

Township Manager's Report - Schnaedter said that the CMX construction maintenance agreement has not been received yet.  The reason, he was told, was that the snow storms kept the clerical people from the office.  He requested that the agenda item be tabled.  Howell said that he finds it an annoyance that everything is always delayed when it comes to CMX.  Schnaedter offered that this is to negotiate a hourly rate as a backup just in case anything arises after CMX's initial work is completed.  He also said that 20 people attended the pre-bid meeting. 

Also, Schnaedter reported that he hopes to have a proof from Home Town Press of the upcoming Quarterly next Monday.  They have reported that the economy is making it difficult to secure advertisers. 

Engineer's Report - Muller was not needed and his absence was excused - per Chuss.

Solicitor's Report - Kline - reported that "motions to dismiss" have been filed on behalf of all defendants in the Federal Court action (against Forks Township) by Gary Strausser and Strausser Enterprises.  The motions were filed on February 19th and it will be several months for a court decision. 

The motions to dismiss indicate that there was no testimony and no discovery, so, even if everything alleged by Strausser is true, "he still loses."  The technical legal issues will then have to be addressed by the Federal Court. 

Kline also reported that he has been meeting with Township Engineer Muller to get Muller up to speed on a number of different issues/developments that are upcoming. 

Chief Dorney received a letter from PA Attorney General Tom Corbett announcing that the Police Department's grant application was approved - to purchase two portable breath testers. 




Proclamations: Boy Scout Troop 29 – Cub Scout Pack Troop 29 – Cub Scout Pack Troop 21 (David Billings, Supervisor) - Billings said that signed copies of the Township proclamation celebrating the Boy Scouts of America 100th anniversary will be delivered to BSA Troop 29 and Cub Pack 21 tomorrow.  Both were represented tonight.  Cub Pack 29 will get their copy at the next meeting.  The proclamation will be signed tonight.  He said that he was privileged to attend the blue and gold banquet a week ago.  Billings read the proclamation which was written to recognize the contribution that local scout groups have made.  The proclamation was approved by a 4:0 vote of the Board of Supervisors. 

Liquid Fuels Fund Transfer (Jim Farley, Finance Manager) - Farley explained that Liquid Fuels Tax money is received from the State and comes from taxes collected on fuel purchases.  It is awarded based on the number of miles of roadway in a municipality.  It is to be used for street lighting, plowing, road maintenance, road resurfacing, road construction, etc. 

Farley said that in 2007 the Township took on a project for road resurfacing.  Two years later, after an audit, the Township learned that the proper permits had not been obtained in time by the engineer.  As a result, the funds had to come from the Township's capital accrual account instead of the Liquid Fuels fund.  The Township appealed and lost.  Controls on road projects have now been tightened.

Billings asked if the prior engineering firm has any culpability in this?  Farley said that during the audit, records were requested of the engineer but they were never produced - as they were never created.  Farley added that the roadwork was done in the Township so "it's not like we lost money somewhere."  

Howell said that it particularly galls him that when the engineer was asked if the paperwork was completed, he said that it was.  He suggested an angry letter from the Township to the engineering firm. 

Kline explained that there are two pots of money, the general fund and the Liquid Fuels fund - all of it is Township money.  In this case, the Township used the Liquid Fuels fund but the State said "no, you didn't ask us first" and because the Township didn't ask "may I?" to PennDOT the money must come from the general fund instead.  Kline said, "The Township still has the same amount of money."   At the moment, Keystone is working with Kline for free to get a number of projects wrapped up so that the new engineer needn't do them.  Kline suggests not "burning bridges."

Construction and Maintenance Agreement – CMX (Rick Schnaedter, Township Manager) - Schnaedter requested that this be tabled.  Billings made the motion.  Rogers seconded and the vote to table was 4:0.

Inter-municipal Liquor License Transfer for Timothy Belon - 1670 No. Delaware Drive (Auto Grille) Schedule Public Hearing (Karl Kline, Township Solicitor) - Kline explained that the license is coming from 3531 Mountain View Drive in Danielsville.  The State mandates a public hearing by the receiving municipality whenever there is an inter-municipal transfer of a liquor license.  Ultimately what goes on is really up to the PA Liquor Control Board but the hearing does provide the municipality with an opportunity to find out what's going on.  The license is for an eating/retail place at 1670 North Delaware Dr.

Howell said the the application has many errors.  Examples include listing Chubby's as the nearest holder of a liquor license when in fact there is one at the Colossi property (the former Gypsy Rose) and one at Riverview.  The nearest school is listed as Forks Elementary but is in fact March Elementary on College Hill.  And, the nearest park is given as the Forks Community Park when it is Nevin Park and Eddyside Park in Easton.  Howell asked that Schnaedter or Kline review the application and correct it.  The application is also missing a list of all the active licenses in the Township. 

Kline said that he will notify the applicant of the hearing date and that there are many observed shortcomings in the application. 

Kline explained that prior to changes in the law, supply and demand dictated the prices of liquor licenses.  There were many in Easton and they were cheaper than those in Forks where there were fewer.  When the law was changed to allow inter-municipal transfers, it effectively evened out the supply/demand price issues. 

A motion was made by Billings to schedule the public hearing for Thursday, April 1 at 7 PM and that the applicant be asked to review and correct his application.  Rogers seconded and it passed 4:0.

Executive Session - There was an Executive Session to discuss litigation and a real estate matter.  No action was taken during or after the session and the meeting was adjourned. 

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